Budleigh’s Paula honoured with long service medal for her ‘loyal’ voluntary work at RD&E
PUBLISHED: 06:55 23 January 2018
An ‘invaluable’ hospital volunteer – who lives in Budleigh Salterton – has been honoured with a long service medal.
Paula McConnell received the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) award to mark 20 years’ of dedicated service at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD&E).
She volunteered in the orthopaedic outpatients department at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre (PEOC) from October 1997 until she retired due to ill health in 2017.
Paula volunteered at the hospital as a member of the RVS, which offers support for older people.
As well as welcoming patients and visitors to the department, she played a key role in helping people to find their way to their clinic appointments, taking the stress out of a hospital appointment.
“The support and friendship Paula has given us in outpatients over the years has been invaluable,” said Helen Pierce, PEOC orthopaedic outpatients sister.
“Having that extra pair of eyes to look out patients has been such a help to us and she will be missed.”
Paula was recently presented with her long service award medal and certificate by Lisa Vogwill, RD&E senior nurse for patient experience. She was also joined by RVS coordinator June Harry and friends, staff and volunteer colleagues from the orthopaedic outpatients department to celebrate her achievement.
Paula explained that one of the most important parts of her volunteer role at the RD&E has been about caring for people.
“I think it’s a really important job. Devon is a rural community and for many people – especially the older generation – coming into Exeter to hospital is a big deal and people can be afraid. We’re there as a friendly face to welcome them and put them at ease.”
June Harry, RVS coordinator, added: “Paula has been a loyal volunteer in PEOC for over 20 years with her dedicated service to patients and staff during this time. She is a strong advocate for the role volunteering has, even encouraging her neighbour to enrol with the RVS. She will be sorely missed by myself as RVS coordinator now that she has decided to retire.”